November 18, 2006

You're buggered. Deal with it.

Here at Cardiff (in my world) there are essentially three types of people. Broadcast journalists, magazine journalists and newspaper journalists.

This latter category is in a bit of a bind, but don’t seem to realise it. Most of those in the newspaper industry realise newspapers will cease to exist in the next decade or two, to be replaced by online offerings. At every newspaper group in the country (perhaps barring the Guardian) jobs are being slashed. They’re all gearing up for a brave new world.

But there seems to be a great deal of resistance to this from some (not all!) of the newspaper journalism students. Reading their blogs, and listening to them ask questions in lectures, it’s clear some are very defensive about the societal importance of newspapers.

It’s sort of sweet in a way. Some of their blogs talk about “traditional journalism” in reverential terms while quietly damning online journalism as if it’s a sin. Read between the lines and they can come across as very (small ‘c’) conservative.

But the strange fact is I’d be amazed if, in 20 years time, more than a fifth of them were working in print journalism. I’m not saying they made a mistake in doing newspaper journalism (far from it), but I wonder how many of them relish the fact their job will evolve a great deal over the next few years.


- 7 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. I think there’ll always be room to do things the “traditional” way. There’s something to be said for being able to keep up-to-date with what’s going on without having to rely on a computer or a phone or any other fancy technologies. I agree that the sector will get much smaller though.

    19 Nov 2006, 02:16

  2. James

    Yes indeed. If I hear another “death of the journalist” type question in our online lectures, I’m going to scream.

    19 Nov 2006, 10:55

  3. Martin

    1. I like the new photo of you in your banner. It gives you more of a metrosexual image.
    2. The ‘death of a journalist’ posts are usually occasioned by people who know nothing about the internet saying that it is about to kill offline journalism – specifically that ‘citizen journalists’ will usurp trained journalists. That said, if I really wanted to be an online journalist (which I don’t) I’d actually do the newspaper course anyway. Print and web are fairly close disciplines.

    19 Nov 2006, 16:23

  4. Blamerbell

    That’s very non-committal Chris. Just come clean and say you hope they all lose their jobs before they even get one. ‘I mean… do you know what I mean?’

    19 Nov 2006, 18:30

  5. I don’t have an issue with them, just with some of them clearly not understanding what they’re getting into.

    19 Nov 2006, 19:24

  6. Oli

    Interesting post. Personally, I welcome the effect of the internet on mainstream journalism. I find the sense of entitlement displayed by some of the students arrogant in the extreme. What does it say about journalists that they see the internet as some sort of unwelcome challenge to their authority? If their journalism is any good, the internet will help it travel further. You only need to worry if you’re crap.

    19 Nov 2006, 23:27

  7. Andy Dickinson

    Interesting post and even more interesting comments.

    “Print and web are fairly close disciplines.”

    Just like the “death of journalism question ” pet peeve, I find that a frustrating comment.

    I tend to hear it from people who are hedging their bets – looking for some kind of security in the future that just isn’t there. What’s worse is that it tends to be informed by a number of people who think that print=journalism.

    Print and online journalism are not close. Reporting, writing and communicating – Journalism – are common across all mediums but print work on paper, online works on screen. Print is just another medium. Pick print because you love the medium but accept that it will change. It may not love you back and it certainly won’t secure you a future.

    Good luck with the course

    22 Nov 2006, 12:07


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